NSW ALP Conference can call Labor Government to account

When Michael Costa and Morris Iemma both left the NSW Government on Friday 5 September, it was the culmination of their failure to privatise NSW electricity generation in the face of a huge vote against taken by NSW ALP State Conference in May. No NSW Labor Government will be in a hurry to defy State Conference again. For the first time in living memory the NSW Premier and Deputy Premier were both from the “left” faction, although Nathan Rees formally declared himself “unaligned” in order to take up his new position as Premier. On Friday and over the weekend it seemed to be a good moment for supporters of public ownership, union rights and public services to press on and intensify all campaigns for improvements from NSW Labor. By Monday new Premier Nathan Rees was making it clear that he would ‘not be raising taxes to fix the state’s economic woes, but has labelled government departments “absolutely ripe for reform”. Mr Rees’s new cabinet team will tomorrow be briefed on the grim economic outlook that has put the state’s triple-A credit rating at risk.’ according to the Sydney Morning Herald. This is a critical moment for Unions NSW under the leadership of John Robertson. They can claim a lot of credit for the defeat of privatisation of electricity generation, and of the Howard Government at the last federal election. How will they react to Rees declaration of intent to cut the public sector and cap pay rises below the rate of inflation?

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